In their first European Championship qualifier under head coach Magnus Pehrsson, Estonian national footballers pocketed a precious 1:0 home win over Slovenia. After the game, Mr Pehrsson admitted letting in Ats Purje – the kicker of the goal – was risky in ways more than one.
«Very happy over the result, we are equally happy over the performance. We could do team play and were thus able to overcome the tough spots in the game. Before the opponent player was removed, we were having difficulty, but we fought it and we got over it,» related Mr Pehrsson. «Thanks to the advantage, in numbers, we had more time with the ball, as we did get a second wind. We got some good free kicks and got the faith for a goal. At the end we got confused a bit and were unable to finish the game off properly.»
As admitted by Mr Pehrsson, the injury of Ilja Antonov messed up his substitution plans – knowing that players like Joel Lindpere and Taijo Teniste are not on the 90 minutes form right now.
«Luckily the substitute worked and I’m glad for that. If, in a situation like this, you take the wrong decision, all will go backwards. It was hard to decide who will go play. (Igor) Morozov lasting till the end was a question mark. Also, regarding (Taijo) Teniste and (Sergei) Zenjov I had no full assurance if they’ll make it till the whistle. But (Joel) Lindpere was totally worn out so we had to send a guy in who could do attack and also be midfielder. So we took a risk as Lindpere got tired. It was a risk to send in Purje, but we must be glad it worked.»
According to the Swede, the win will prove a good foundation for the team for the qualifiers to follow – the next in line being Lithuania and England.